Motoring Tech 'Could Outpace Safety Measures'

Concerns Raised Over Pace Of Transport Technology Development

06.03.2015

The development motoring technology could begin to advance too rapidly for government safety measures to keep up, a report from MPs has said.

As transport safety becomes increasingly complex in the wake of rapid changes to transport technology, the House of Commons Transport Committee has made recommendations to the Department for Transport (DfT) that it hopes will ensure safe motoring outcomes.

The committee has called on the DfT to clarify how the introduction of self-driving cars will affect the liabilities of drivers, manufacturers and insurers, using data on driver behaviour held by the insurance industry to inform policy-making.

In addition, the DfT should also positively engage in setting European and international standards to assist UK manufacturers in developing products suitable for export, the committee said.

Commenting on the recommendations in the report, AA President Edmund King said: "The report rightly points to potential problems of a transition period on the roads. There is a potential nightmare scenario whereby robotic driverless cars are fighting for space with cars with humans behind the wheel.

"We really need a safe vision for the future whereby all vehicles and all road users can coexist in harmony. This vision will entail Government, manufacturers, insurers and indeed drivers agreeing the way ahead."

Expert Opinion
The contribution that new technology plays in relation to road safety cannot be overstated and there are many examples of measures which have been introduced on a number of cars.

"Among the innovative measures used on vehicles are automatic emergency braking systems, as well as sensors regarding proximity to other objects or cars. All of this makes an important contribution to keeping the roads safe.

"As a result, it is vital that the Government does everything it can to stay abreast of the technological advances being made in this area.

"Anything that encourages and promotes safer driving should be welcomed, particularly as the number of road users killed or seriously injured on roads in the UK remains unacceptable. However, the flipside is that policies and other legislation should always reflect and complement the developments being made."
Colin Ettinger, Partner